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What is Data Security & How Can It Help Your Small Business?

Data security is the practice of keeping data protected from unauthorized access or corruption. Since many businesses are moving towards using digital products, whether it’s something as simple as using email or a complicated ordering system, the need for keeping this data protected has never been stronger. A data breach or hack could result in loss of money or confidential information, which could harm your relationship with your employees, customers, vendors, and ultimately your business.

Data protection means protecting not only your business data but also your customer and vendor’s data. Unfortunately, small businesses seem to be a much easier target for hackers since their security systems are usually not as sophisticated as a medium or large business. Yet, 87% of small business owners think they are not at risk of a data attack.

In this blog, we’ll talk about why it’s so important to make sure your customer data is secure, some tools we recommend to bolster your SMB’s data security, and four essential tips on how you can protect your business data in your organization.

Data Security for Your Customer Data

Ensuring your company and employee’s data is protected is certainly very important. However, as a business, it is equally important to ensure your customer and vendor data is protected as well. More and more, customers and vendors are demanding to see a strong privacy policy from the companies they’re working with.

Does your small business have a privacy policy in place? Do your customers and vendors know how you’re going to protect their data? A privacy policy should explain very clearly how you collect their data, and what you do with it once it’s been collected. Being honest with them will help build and maintain a strong, positive, and trusting relationship.

One of the easiest ways you can keep your customer data safe is to avoid collecting information that you don’t need. For instance, if you don’t need to know your customer’s birth date, SIN number, credit card information, or any other personally identifiable information, don’t ask for it. Also, consider adding multiple layers of protection to your data, such as multi-factor authentication, or password-protecting your sensitive data. The more layers of protection that you add, the harder it is for hackers to get through. Additionally, routinely purge old customer data when it’s no longer needed.

Data encryption is probably one of the bigger items that can really make a difference. For example, if you are receiving financial information from a customer, passing that information on a secure, encrypted server will ensure it’s not hacked while being transmitted (for example, SSL or TLS encryption on websites).

Data Security Tools to Keep Your Data Secure

Of course, we understand that it can be difficult to keep a handle on data security. Here are three tools that we recommend you implement in your organization:

  • Data Security Tool #1: Windows Information Protection (WIP)

Windows Information Protection (WIP) integrates with your familiar Microsoft products like Office 365. WIP identifies what is considered personal information, and what’s considered corporate information, then determines which apps can access which data, and provides you with basic controls and functions to perform certain tasks that are designed to keep business data safe (for example, restricting employee abilities to copy or paste data into an unsecured location). This does not get in the way of your employees’ user experiences, but is designed to make sure that your organization’s data doesn’t leak into personal or public domains.

  • Data Security Tool #2: Office 365 Data Loss Prevention

Office 365 Data Loss Prevention can be implemented to prevent the sharing of sensitive information (like credit card information, or information that might be travelling to users who are outside your organization). By setting up policies through the Exchange Administration Centre in your Office 365 Admin portal, you can tell this Data Loss Prevention tool to scan your employees’ emails and look for instances where one of your corporate polices are about to be breached. When detected, your employees will get a pop-up in the email window that alerts them to the sensitive information they’re about to pass on.

  • Data Security Tool #3: Microsoft InTune

InTune is a secure mobile productivity tool that can be added to your employees’ devices, and can provide the data protection that your business needs. With InTune running unobtrusively in the background, your employees can use their Office apps with ease. InTune is flexible, Cloud-based, and can give you choices on how your data is accessed. If it should become necessary to do so, you can wipe corporate data from personal devices without touching the personal data in the device.

Data Security: 4 Essential Tips on How to Protect Your Business Data

Protecting your data is (or at least should be) one of the highest priorities for organizations today. But, doing so should not compromise your staff’s mobility and productivity. Here are four efficient ways you can better protect your data: